KYIV — Following a tense G20 meeting, the United States urged China to join the West in opposing the invasion as Ukrainian defenders fought on several fronts to contain Russian forces, officials said.
The governor of Kharkiv reported that a missile attack there injured three civilians, despite the fact that Luhansk and Donetsk, southeast of Kharkiv, appeared to be the main targets of most of Russia’s attacks.
These two provinces make up the eastern industrial region of the Donbas, parts of which were held by pro-Russian separatists before the conflict started in February.
On Saturday, both were the subject of strikes, according to Ukrainian officials, while the British Ministry of Defense reported that Moscow was assembling reserve forces from all over Russia close to Ukraine.
The governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, reported shelling of other populated areas while claiming that a Russian missile had hit the town of Druzhkivka, which is behind the front line.
Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, claimed on Telegram that Russian forces were “firing along the entire front line,” but Moscow had to halt its offensive after a subsequent Ukrainian counterattack that targeted ammunition and weapon depots.
Russia, which last weekend asserted control over the entire province of Luhansk, denies targeting civilians.
On Friday, Ukraine had pleaded with the West for more of the sophisticated weapons that it claimed had allowed it to halt Russia’s advance.
A few hours later, U.S. President Joe Biden authorized the purchase of up to $400 million worth of weapons for Ukraine, including four more high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS). (nL1N2YP1NH)
The armaments, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, are a top priority. He claimed on Twitter that it “helps us press on the enemy.”
Russia’s embassy in Washington responded by claiming that the US wanted to “prolong the conflict at all costs.”
In a statement to journalists on Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the international community to band together to denounce Russian aggression and said he had discussed Beijing’s support for Moscow with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
On the Indonesian island of Bali, the two spoke for over five hours during the G20 meeting of foreign ministers. Sergei Lavrov of Russia left a meeting there on Friday, criticizing the West for its “frenzied criticism.”
Without going into further detail, the Chinese foreign ministry stated that Wang and Blinken had discussed “the Ukraine issue.”
Wang was also quoted as saying that because of the widespread perception that “the United States is suffering from an increasingly serious bout of ‘Chinaphobia,'” Sino-American relations were in danger of going further “astray.”
Beijing and Moscow declared a “no limits” alliance prior to the Russian invasion, despite the fact that U.S. officials claim they have not observed China evading sanctions imposed on Russia or giving it military hardware.
Oleh Synehubov, the governor of Kharkiv, reported on Telegram that in addition to the missile strike, fighters had repelled two Russian attacks close to Dementiivka, a town between the city and the Russian border.
According to the Russian defense ministry, its forces struck two “foreign mercenaries’ bases stationed close to Kharkiv.”
Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the ministry, added that two Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft had been shot down in the southern Mykolaiv region and that ammunition depots had been destroyed both there and in the eastern Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk regions.
Russian-backed forces on the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) territory reported three fatalities and 17 injuries there in the previous day as Ukrainian forces shelled 10 targets.
Following Friday’s heated G20 discussions, President Vladimir Putin sent another message that the Kremlin was not interested in making concessions, warning that sanctions against Russia could result in “catastrophic” increases in energy prices.
Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, reaffirmed calls for more deliveries of high-tech Western weapons on Saturday and claimed that sanctions were having an effect.
“Russians try their hardest to have those sanctions lifted, showing that they are indeed hurting them. As a result, sanctions must be increased until Putin abandons his aggressive plans, Kuleba said via videolink to a forum in Dubrovnik.
Andrei Kelin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, said on Friday that there was little chance of a Russian withdrawal from the areas of Ukraine it controls and that Russian troops would take over the remaining Donbas.
Since Russia, which has also taken control of a sizable portion of territory across southern Ukraine, began what it refers to as a special operation to demilitarize Ukraine, cities have been bombed to the point of destruction, thousands have died, and millions have been displaced.
Russia is allegedly stealing land without provocation, according to Ukraine and its Western allies.